From Stephen J. Dubner’s Freakanomics blog (via The New York Times):
I recently took the kids to see a performance by Jim Dale, the longtime British stage actor (he won a Tony for ‘Barnum’) who is best known these days as the wildly entertaining reader of the Harry Potter books on tape. He was reading an adaptation of a Eudora Welty story called “The Shoe Bird,” which he recently recorded with the Seattle Symphony. (It was wonderful, and I encourage you to give it a listen.) Afterward, Dale took questions from the audience — which, predictably, were about the Harry Potter series. Items of interest that emerged: Dale was given only 100 pages of manuscript at a time to read and then record, so he never knew what was coming; and in order to keep track of the 146 voices he’d created for all the characters, he often pre-recorded a bit of the characters’ voices and then held a tape recorder up to his ear in the studio to remind himself.
Dale received nominations in 2009 for both a Grammy Award and an Audie Award for his narration of “The Shoe Bird.” Additionally, he was nominated for another 2009 Audie Award for his narration of “James Herriot’s Treasury for Children.”
Jim currently holds a Guinness World Record from his performance of the “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows” audiobook, in which he created/recorded 146 different character voices.